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Use of threshold serum and milk ketone concentrations to identify risk for ketosis and endometritis in high-yielding dairy cows

Martin Reist Dr med vet, Dr sc nat1,2,3, Daniel K. Erdin Dr sc tech4,5, Daniel von Euw Dr sc tech6,7, Kaspar M. Tschümperlin Dr sc tech8, Hans Leuenberger Dr sc tech9, Harald M. Hammon Dr med vet10, Niklaus Künzi Dr sc tech11, and Jürg W. Blum Dr med vet12
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  • 1 Group of Animal Breeding, Institute of Animal Science, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zentrum, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland.
  • | 2 Division of Animal Nutrition and Physiology, Institute of Animal Genetics, Nutrition and Housing, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Berne, Bremgartenstrasse 109a, CH-3012 Berne, Switzerland.
  • | 3 Present address is Novartis Centre de Recherche Santé Animale SA, CH-1566 St-Aubin, Switzerland.
  • | 4 Group of Animal Breeding, Institute of Animal Science, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zentrum, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland.
  • | 5 Present address is Swiss Farming Association, Laurstrasse 10, CH-5200 Brugg, Switzerland.
  • | 6 Group of Animal Breeding, Institute of Animal Science, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zentrum, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland.
  • | 7 Present address is Ministry of Agriculture, Canton of Schwyz, CH-6430 Schwyz, Switzerland.
  • | 8 Research Station Chamau, Institute of Animal Science, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zentrum, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland.
  • | 9 Research Station Chamau, Institute of Animal Science, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zentrum, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland.
  • | 10 Division of Animal Nutrition and Physiology, Institute of Animal Genetics, Nutrition and Housing, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Berne, Bremgartenstrasse 109a, CH-3012 Berne, Switzerland.
  • | 11 Group of Animal Breeding, Institute of Animal Science, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zentrum, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland.
  • | 12 Division of Animal Nutrition and Physiology, Institute of Animal Genetics, Nutrition and Housing, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Berne, Bremgartenstrasse 109a, CH-3012 Berne, Switzerland.

Abstract

Objective—To use threshold concentrations of acetone and β-hydroxybutyrate in milk and serum, respectively; identify risk for ketosis and endometritis; and assess analyses of blood and milk samples as predictors of risk for ketosis in high-yielding dairy cows.

Animals—90 multiparous Holstein cows.

Procedure—At intervals before and after parturition, blood samples were obtained for determination of glucose, nonesterified fatty acids, leptin, insulin, insulin-like growth factor-1, and β-hydroxybutyrate concentrations. Samples of milk were obtained at similar intervals after parturition for determination of fat content and concentrations of acetone, protein, and lactose. Reproductive examination of each cow was performed weekly.

Results—For each cow, threshold concentrations of acetone and β-hydroxybutyrate were calculated as 75th and 90th percentiles of maximum postpartum concentrations of acetone in milk (0.40 and 0.87 mmol/L) and β-hydroxybutyrate in serum (2.30 and 3.51 mmol/L). Significant decrease in milk production (442 to 654 kg of energy-corrected milk/305-day period per cow) was associated with acetone or β-hydroxybutyrate in excess of threshold values. Milk acetone concentrations > 0.40 mmol/L were associated with 3.2 times higher risk for endometritis. Low plasma glucose, high serum β-hydroxybutyrate, and high milk acetone concentrations during week 1 after parturition were indicators of increased risk for ketosis later during lactation.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Determination of milk acetone concentration during the week after parturition may identify cows at risk for ketosis and endometritis; with appropriate interventions, development of disease and production losses may be reduced. (Am J Vet Res 2003:64:188–194)

Abstract

Objective—To use threshold concentrations of acetone and β-hydroxybutyrate in milk and serum, respectively; identify risk for ketosis and endometritis; and assess analyses of blood and milk samples as predictors of risk for ketosis in high-yielding dairy cows.

Animals—90 multiparous Holstein cows.

Procedure—At intervals before and after parturition, blood samples were obtained for determination of glucose, nonesterified fatty acids, leptin, insulin, insulin-like growth factor-1, and β-hydroxybutyrate concentrations. Samples of milk were obtained at similar intervals after parturition for determination of fat content and concentrations of acetone, protein, and lactose. Reproductive examination of each cow was performed weekly.

Results—For each cow, threshold concentrations of acetone and β-hydroxybutyrate were calculated as 75th and 90th percentiles of maximum postpartum concentrations of acetone in milk (0.40 and 0.87 mmol/L) and β-hydroxybutyrate in serum (2.30 and 3.51 mmol/L). Significant decrease in milk production (442 to 654 kg of energy-corrected milk/305-day period per cow) was associated with acetone or β-hydroxybutyrate in excess of threshold values. Milk acetone concentrations > 0.40 mmol/L were associated with 3.2 times higher risk for endometritis. Low plasma glucose, high serum β-hydroxybutyrate, and high milk acetone concentrations during week 1 after parturition were indicators of increased risk for ketosis later during lactation.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Determination of milk acetone concentration during the week after parturition may identify cows at risk for ketosis and endometritis; with appropriate interventions, development of disease and production losses may be reduced. (Am J Vet Res 2003:64:188–194)